As the bi-centennial celebrations of Charles Dickens get into full swing, it was revealed today that many of his books were more than just stories about depressing Victorian Britain and that the author was actually well ahead of his time.
And it turns out that some of his stories were actually changed at the last minute, only to be taken up again my modern 20th Century authors out of copyright.
For example, his first novel, "Oliver Twist and the Deathly Hallows" (shortened to Oliver Twist because the title couldn't fit on one line) was about a homeless London boy sent to an institution for telling everyone he was a wizard. It was revealed today that just before publication, Oliver's famous statement "Please sir, I want some more" had been edited down from "Please sir, I want Lord Voldemort", by Charles Dickens' agent, Lord Simon of Cowelle.
The original plots of some of Dickens' other novels were actually vastly different to the versions we read today:
David Copperfield - this story was originally about an American magician who lost his way, came to England and made Buckingham palace disappear behind a blanket.
The Pickwick Papers - this was one of the UK's first stories about privacy matters where the Mayor of London was taken to a judicial enquiry for hacking into the town crier. With an axe.
A Tale of Two Cities - Originally titled "A Tale of Two Titties", this novel followed the exploits of a French implant expert who went around putting wooden implants into women that later disintegrated because of woodworm.
A Christmas Carol - a heartwarming story of a girl called Carol who was born on Christmas Day and tried to convince everyone that she was in fact god. Without the gold, frankincense and myrrh, but with a superb rear aspect.
Bleak House - this was a story set in the Premier Inn Hotel in Wolverhampton, before the days of Lenny Henry, which at the time, was about as bleak a house as you could get.
Hard Times - this traced the story of American Playboy Dick Strong who went on the rampage in New York trying to settle the score over a Viagra prescription that went wrong.